Wondering what happened to your side ads on Google? Don't worry, everything is going to be OK.


On February 19th it was confirmed that the side ads on Google’s right-rail were disappearing. Though it might have come as a shock for many advertisers, Google started testing this as far back as 2010.

Now that side ads (positions 4 through 8) are a thing of the past, here is what you need to know:

  • Now there are 4 top ads!
    • Instead the first 3 positions being shown above the organic results, Google is giving advertisers one more chance at being listed in that top section.
    • Google notes the 4th position will be added for “highly commercial queries”—from our tests so far "Real Estate" related queries fall into that category.
  • 7 total ad slots on the first page
    • This is less than the 11 ads lots from before, but likely won’t make much of a difference to you, unless your ads were consistently in the 7+ position, which they probably were not.
      • Side note: If your ads were consistently in the 7+ position, consider calling your Product Consultant and ask about our PPC services, because we’d love to help you achieve better results.
  • Ad extensions can now show for top and bottom ads 
    • This is a huge win—ad extensions help your ads stand out above the rest, and these extensions are now available to show in all positions. Previously only the top ads were allowed this privilege.

Why the change?

According to Google this change was made to improve the Google Search user experience. What many advertisers may not realize is that right-rail ads were never shown on mobile devices, and mobile searches account for the most searches on Google. This change now aligns the desktop search results layout with the mobile results layout.

In addition, the side ads were simply being clicked less than ads in other positions. And when something isn’t working on Google, they react by making a change that they anticipate will give users a better experience.

The bottom line:

So far REW PPC hasn’t noticed any significant changes in click through rate, cost per click, or cost per lead of our campaigns in the last couple of weeks.

As time goes on and there’s more data to review, you may need to make some minor adjustments to your bids, but don’t be quick to over-analyze or over-haul your campaign; it might be just fine as-is.

Want more information?

o Check out this article from a Google employee for tips on how to navigate this new layout.


Anne Fortin

Marketing & PPC Team Lead
Real Estate Webmasters


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